Curtis and I began to weigh the pros and cons of being called to an existing church versus planting a new church. I felt that by God's grace we could be happy and thrive at either type of church. But Curtis said, "If we're going to plant a church, I need to wake up first thing in the morning and say, 'If I don't plant a church, I'll die!'" Now that is severe. He obviously wasn't there yet. His point was that church planting would be really hard and he needed to have a lot of passion for it first.
When I would drive around town, I would see different church buildings and say, "Lord, what about that one? Do they need a pastor? Lord, surely there is a church somewhere in Houston where we could serve." Curtis could sense me clinging to our city, so of course he started swinging in the opposite direction.
In September I had the privilege of going on a Compassion blogger trip to Guatemala. One of my favorite things about the trip was getting to see how Compassion works through the local church. I was really moved by the pastors and their families and the way God was using them in their neighborhoods. They were a force to be reckoned with, even in the face of very real threats of violence from gangs. These little churches were powerful refuges of hope in desperately poor communities.
It was when we were visiting this particular church that I got a deep sense in my heart of what Jesus had for us in our near future.
This is the pastor and his wife and in the middle is one of their fiery, tenacious leaders.
This is the sword of the Spirit.
This is how they taught the children Bible verses so that they would take their stand against the enemy's schemes, particularly when the gangs came calling for them to join.
The children learned their verses quickly.
I can't explain how this all connects, but the Holy Spirit was working in me. I remember this place so vividly. All I can say is that the Lord used it to impress His direction on my heart.
Practically on the way home from the airport I told Curtis, "I think we're going plant a church. We have a lot of work to do and we need to get busy!"
Part Three to come...